This is Carol Shkolnik interviewing Marvin Glassman on Monday, August 23, 1999 in his lovely condominium up in New Albany, on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.
Interviewer: Marvin, you seem to have had a really interesting background. I
know you’ve been in Columbus a long time. Should we talk maybe, start with maybe
you telling us a little bit about your family and early childhood and growing-up
Glassman: See my father was about 2 or 3 when he came from Russia. He and he
had four brothers and two sisters and they lived down on Fulton Street where
everybody was living at the time and there are many people between myself and my
father’s era who always said when they first came to Columbus, my grandmother took them in for a day, two days, a week. Lou Robins for one said that that happened to his family.
Interviewer: What do you mean “took them in for a couple-three
days”? Glassman: They stayed with my grandparents.
Glassman: And my father was a very hard-working man. Like a lot of the early
settlers, but the early Jewish community, he sold newspapers at five, six
years old, then matches down at market and then later on he was peddling fruit
from a truck and had a stand on Central Market at Fourth and Main. And then in
1929, ’28, he and my uncle, Frank Kauffman, started a cab company.
Interviewer: In 1928?
Glassman: In 1928. It’s now 71 years old. And they started with a very, just a few cabs, four or five automobiles, and they stood on market until 1939 because the family ate from the proceeds from the market while the cab company was growing. And my mother’s family came over about the same time except they must have come before because my mother was born here, my two uncles were born here.
Interviewer: And what was your mother’s name?
Glassman: Her name was Minnie Kauffman. My grandmother was Adele and my
grandfather was Moses Kauffman. And I remember they lived on South 22nd Street. That’s my earliest memory of them. My grandmother was the matriarch of the family. She stood on
market and worked. My grandfather didn’t work as hard as my grandmother. And it
was through hard work, perseverance that everybody became fairly successful.
Interviewer: Did you or any of your generation in the family work on market
Glassman: I did as a young man. I sold oranges in the winter time and
tangerines in the summer. Fruit, my uncle had a stand at the old North Market so we shuttled back and forth. I did anyway.
Interviewer: And which uncle was that?
Glassman: That was Frank Kauffman, my father’s partner, my mother’s brother. And we, the cab company grew and finally in I guess ’42, they couldn’t get help, they closed down the market and remained just operating the cab company.
Interviewer: How did they happen to pick a cab company as a business venture?
Glassman: My father could never answer that question. They just thought it
would be a lucrative business and fairly easy. But it wasn’t easy, as everybody
finds out when they go into business. They worked very hard. Both my father and
my uncle worked seven days a week for many, many years.
Interviewer: So which one was it, your father or your uncle, who finally
decided on that business?
Glassman: My father.
Interviewer: Your father?
Interviewer: And the proceeds of the market gave him enough to, to start it
up? Glassman: To start it up and feed our two families.
Interviewer: And how many children in yours and how many. …
Glassman: I just had one sister and my aunt and uncle had three children, a
daughter and two sons. The oldest son was my partner in business for many years.
Interviewer: Which, who was?
Glassman: Kenneth Kauffman. And his brother Ronald Kauffman worked with us. And then he took one of the businesses and split off from us. And my son is still in the business. He’s operating the business now. Ken Kauffman’ s one son worked for us for a few years. His other two boys are out in California where he is now. Interviewer: Uh hum. And we were able to have a pretty successful business.
Interviewer: I didn’t think about this before but would you want to talk
about it? Was it like instant rags to riches? Was it Glassman? No. Say something about that.
Glassman: It was struggle, struggle, struggle. As I said, uh, for the first
fourteen years, fifteen years, the family lived off of the proceeds from the
market. So it was not a “you’re a millionaire today; you were broke
Interviewer: Okay, so would you say that the business was a lot more stable
by the time that market closed down and you couldn’t rely on that?
Glassman: It, it was starting to grow and we had, my father and my uncle
developed a good reputation for service and operating a good company and we
were, they were very successful.
Interviewer: Now the, your father and your uncle, did they ever drive the
cabs or were they strictly in the operation?
Glassman: Not, strictly in operation. None of us, well I guess my partner
drove a cab a few days. And that; I never did either.
Interviewer: I see. Were there any memorable stories about the business that
were told to you as a youngster?
Glassman: There were some. We had babies born in the cab and celebrities in
the cabs and we were very close to the University in the late 30s through the 70s. And us, we always took the football teams and all the basketball teams to and from the train station or the airport in those days.
Interviewer: I see. So there was a lot of rubbing elbows you know with some
celebrities of various kinds?
Glassman: Right, right.
Interviewer: I always wondered about this. Did your father or your uncle pick
that phone number because I used to know the phone number by heart? You did?
Glassman: No. We had many numbers because we’d acquire a cab company and we
kept the numbers but a friend of mine in Miami had, was able to get seven 8s.
Interviewer: Like 7-8-7-8? Glassman: No, 8-8-8-8. Interviewer: Okay, I see.
Glassman: And then, we, it took us three years to get the “all you need
is four, 444-4444,” seven fours.
Interviewer: And I think I remember that, was there a 4-1-4-1 ? Or. …
Glassman: That was our original; that was in the days when they had names, it
was Adams 4141. And in the 30s, 40s, you had prefixes.Before the numbers came into being. And at that time, it was Adams 4-1-4-1.
Interviewer: Something just entered my mind about the numbers; I’m trying to
remember what it was. Well I think it’s interesting that me, who probably never
rode a cab, used to know the number like that. And that was really something.
Well maybe, maybe that thought will come back to me.
Glassman: Right. You should ride a cab. (Laughter)
Interviewer: Well not usually in this town.
Glassman: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: But I’m sure I, on occasion, but. …
Interviewer: What companies did you buy? Oh, I know what it was. Can you
explain which was green and which was yellow and which one, what was the name of
the company over time?
Glassman: Well it started out the Columbus Green Cab. Then in 1952, there was one cab called Yellow Cab. And since that was the predominant color in the industry throughout
the United States and around the world practically. …
Glassman: Yellow. We, my father was able to negotiate a price for that
license and then we, it was a transition to Yellow. And then in 1952, my cousin and I bought a company called Hills Cab. And they were a different shade of green but by then, the yellow cabs, the Columbus Green Cabs were all yellow. And we used Columbus Green
Cabs/Yellow Cab. And then gradually we painted all of the other cabs we bought. And when we bought Radio Cab a year or two later, we painted those yellow.
Interviewer: I see. And what is the company called today?
Glassman: Columbus Green Cabs.
Interviewer: Is it really? I wouldn’t have even known that. Columbus Green
Cabs. But they’re still yellow, right?
Glassman: They’re all yellow.
Interviewer: And why the name?
Glassman: That was our original corporate name. And we just stuck with that name.
Interviewer: I see. This is a reality check for me. Was it at one time called
Green and Yellow Cab?
Glassman: Well, we would answer the phones that way. Never, it was Green and Yellow because we hadn’t switched all the cars and we wanted the people to know that they’d get
Interviewer: I see. And did people actually request one or the other?
Glassman: No, very seldom.
Interviewer: Okay. Okay, that’s interesting. Am I gathering right that a good
part of the family revolved around the business and what was going on with the
Glassman: Our immediate family, yes. See we had, I had, my father had brothers. And my mother had another brother and a half-sister and a half-brother. It was.
Interviewer: Who all was in on the business in the early days besides your
father and your uncle?
Glassman: Just that. For a while. I had a one uncle who was not involved with the
business but he owned some of the taxi cabs.
Interviewer: I see. I see. Are there some things about your early years prior
to when you, prior to World War II that you’d like
to talk about, with your family?
Glassman: Well it was, we were a relatively close family. I mean the immediate, aunt, and my cousin and myself and my sister. We were like one family. Interviewer: Uh hum. We were always together.
Interviewer: Did you live close to each other?
Glassman: We, through the years, we both lived on Fairwood Avenue. Then we moved to Bexley and lived fairly close. And our sisters moved to Chicago and they lived, unbeknownst to each other, they bought houses right around the comer from each other. So you know, and we’ve, you know, kept a good relationship. My partners, my ex-partner’s now in Palm Springs and we talk to each other, oh a couple times a month anyway.
Interviewer: Okay. Close family. You were telling me before we started about
walking around to the different … Uh, where did your family belong? What congregation?
Glassman: Well my earliest memory was Agudas Achim, where my mother, father and my, her mother belonged. My other grandfather belonged to Ahavas Shalom. …this was down on Washington Avenue. And it was right next door, yeah, Beth Jacob was on down the
street. And then I was Bar Mitzvahed from Agudas Achim, from uh Tifereth Israel. Bar Mitzvahed.
Interviewer: On Broad Street?
Glassman: Broad Street. And, we had one of my good friends, and he was Bar Mitzvahed either the week before or the week after I was, is now one of the leading theologians
in the United States, probably the world.
Interviewer: Who is?
Glassman: Eugene, Rabbi Eugene Borowitz.
Interviewer: Is he still around?
Glassman: Still alive. I see his name in publications and he’s one of the top people in
the country I’d say.
Interviewer: I see. And you’re talking about a previous Rabbi at Tifereth
Glassman: A classmate.
Interviewer: Okay. I thought you said he was the Rabbi.
Glassman: No, he and I were Bar Mitzvahed within a week of each other. And then he went to Ohio State. And I went into the service and he went into Hebrew Union College with another young man from Columbus.
Interviewer: Can you say something about your teen-age years?
Glassman: My teen-age years? I was active in youth groups. Temple.Not a lot but the Temple and the Temple basketball. I did U.J. fund
raising at that time. Uh, with live-in student leaders, and then I went away to prep school and I was out of the mix for a couple of years.
Interviewer: Tell me why you went away to prep school Any special reason?
Glassman: Yeah, because I played too much basketball and went to too many
youth group meetings. Yeah, I’d had a not a very successful sophomore year in high
Interviewer: So they, your parents thought maybe a military school. …
Glassman: I thought so.
Interviewer: You thought a military school would make you be more attention.
Glassman: Yeah, I was concerned about getting into college.Even those days you were concerned. And, a friend of mine was going and I suggested to my parents that I ought to go there that I had a disastrous year and I’d never get out of high school.
Interviewer: So for the record, what was the name of that school?
Glassman: Kentucky Military Institute in Louisville, Kentucky.
Interviewer: And tell me, tell us what that kind of schooling did for you.
Glassman: Well it was small classes, a lot of hard work because you had to be prepared. In a small class you’re called on every day; taught me how to study. In fact, my wife’s brother went there and my own son went there.All three of us graduated from there, through the years.
Interviewer: So how many years did you go there?
Glassman: I went two, my junior and senior years.
Interviewer: I see. So it taught you some discipline and helped you get ready
Glassman: Yeah. It taught me to study.
Interviewer: And to study. Now did you go in the service before or after you
went to college?
Glassman: I was in college. I started in the fall of’ 41. And I went in. I enlisted in December of ’42 and went into the service in February of ’43.
Interviewer: What led to your decision to enlist?
Glassman: Because everybody, not everybody was: doing it, but I just thought
it was my responsibility. And I wanted to be in the Air Force. I had hoped to be in flying pilot, navigator, or bombardier. But when I took my coordination test, I had pneumonia and I didn’t know it ended up being a tail gunner on a bomber.
Interviewer: Now for, I can’t speak for all women but I don’t understand what
that means. What did you do? What does, what does a tail gunner do?
Glassman: Well I was in the back of the plan and I hydraulically operated two 50 caliber machine guns beside me. And if we didn’t fortunately, we didn’t see many enemy fighters but we had a lot of anti-aircraft shot at us.
Interviewer: Were you scared?
Glassman: Of course.
Interviewer: Did your parents know what you were really doing?
Glassman: Yes, my father did. But we went right before, we got to England
right before D-Day so we had a lot of missions prior to and after. There were
180 men went over with us and there were only 30 when I came home there were
only 30 of them either dead or missing in action. Thirty of them were still
Interviewer: Wow! How long of your military, of your time in the service were
you actually a tail gunner or in an airplane like that?
Glassman: I started training in January of ’44 and I came home from overseas
in October of ’44.
Interviewer: And what were you doing between. You said you enlisted in what.
Glassman: ’42 and they didn’t call us up until ’43.Yeah, that was basic training, testing for the pilot program. I went to Air Force, they had a mini college, they had so many people coming in enlisting in Interviewer the Air Force that they had colleges all over the United States where you would go for 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks before you could. Interviewer: Okay .So how old were you? You were like 25 or something like. …Yeah.
Interviewer: You were younger?
Glassman: No, I enlisted. I enlisted in December of ’43, no, in December of ’42, a year
after, actually it was just a year after war was declared.
Interviewer: Okay, so you were. …
Glassman: December the 11th or 7th of ’42 and we were called up in ’43.
Interviewer: So you were 19.
Interviewer: That’s pretty young.
Interviewer: Very young to be doing that.
Glassman: With a lot of the young people. The young persons’ war, especially in the Air Force.
Interviewer: All right, so you got out of the service you said in when?
Glassman: Yeah, in I guess it was May of ’45..
Interviewer: And what did you do then?
Glassman: Came back to Columbus and audited a few classes before school
started and went back to, I was an accounting major. And I went back to school in this January and I was in school until urn…
Interviewer: You were in school until. …
Glassman: It was ’40, May of ’45 that I was out and I think May or June and
then I came back to school and I met my wife and we got married in ’47.
Interviewer: Where is your wife from?
Glassman: Pittsburgh. She came to college here in ’44 and she never went home again. I
mean she went home but she lived here the rest of…her, up until now.
Interviewer: Up until now. Okay. Now did you finish Ohio State?
Glassman: I did not.
Interviewer: Okay. Say something about that and
Glassman: Well, I was an accounting major. I knew, I was working at the cab company. All my classes that I took were from 5 o’clock until 10 and in those days,. they had so many students they were going around the clock, practically,
and I was working full time and I was going to class 5 to 10 and I’d go home
and do my accounting problems and finally I decided that I knew where I was going to go, I was in the cab business already. I knew that I didn’t need a degree.
Interviewer: But, did you feel, how did you feel about your college education
and the business?
Glassman: Well, I felt that I insisted my son graduate. But, I really am sorry that I didn’t finish.
Interviewer: It’s never too late.
Glassman: I know. Well you know, I spoke and I was active in a group in the
Commerce College. We gave awards. We gave a big dinner and gave awards to the better
students. And I saw one of my former professors who was then dean. I said, “What would it take if I came back?” He said, “Would start as: a first-quarter freshman. The courses that you took are irrelevant now. ” So that kind of, I had thought of going to law school but when they said “you have to start you know you’re a true freshman”, well I was
married and naturally, well I guess maybe I. …our son was born.
Glassman: And I was. I wanted to go to night school but, it would have been
Interviewer: And you’d never see your family.
Glassman: I never saw them anyway. I really, the hours that I worked were
from 7 o’clock in the morning until 5:30. I had dinner with them and that’s
about the extent of it. Unfortunately.
Interviewer: The price of success.
Interviewer: So did you use your accounting background in your business?
Glassman: Yes, we had a change in auditors and I helped make the selection, my knowledge and background. And told them what I thought they should be doing for us.
Interviewer: Okay. We talked a little bit about the business earlier and a
little bit. Now we’re going to want to talk about your community activities.
Would you like to do that now?
Glassman: That’s fine.
Interviewer: Okay. Were there some things you want to say more about the business.
Glassman: No I think we’ve covered it pretty well.
Interviewer: Okay. I saw in your bio that you’ve been involved in a number of
Jewish agencies, Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Center, Heritage
House, and also some organizations like United Cerebral Palsy and the Symphony
and Hebrew Union College.. I mean, it really does run the gamut. And I also see
HIAS. I’m interested in that so maybe some others are so we’re not going to
limit it to that but could you tell us about HIAS and what your involvement in
Glassman: Well, I wasn’t deeply involved in HIAS. I was on their Board, because of my involvement in Federation, and fundraising. I was involved with HIAS on that basis. I just felt very strongly about the outreach of it -that they allocated enough money and to keep in those days they were really involved to such an extent they had, we had people, we
were starting to get people out of Russia and we had people all over the world
that needed HIAS.
Interviewer: Okay. In case somebody reading, listening to this tape or
reading the transcript isn’t familiar with HIAS, could you say a little about
Glassman: Yeah. It’s the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society. In those days, all the organizations were really societies. I remember that my grandmother belonged to the Ezras Noshim Society. Ezras Noshim at Agudas Achim.
Interviewer: Could you spell that or is that a Hebrew word?
Glassman: I’m not sure how, I, phonetically it’s the Ever Nosham. I mean
that’s the way it…
Interviewer: Ever Noshin?
Glassman: Yeah. I think it’s been a long time. But, a lot of the organizations were really societies, started out as societies. That’s where HIAS, I think, developed.
Interviewer: Okay now HIAS had a local chapter or a local presence at that
Glassman: Not really. It’s just that we on the national scene, I was on a lot of the national agencies.
Interviewer: Okay, that’s what I wanted to know.
Glassman: That was my real involvement was that I was on their board for two
years; I believe.
Interviewer: That meant you had to go to New York or someplace for. …
Glassman: Right, yeah. I was on the Council of Jewish Federations for four,
for six years. And Jewish Family Services, I was appointed by the late Rabbi
Folkman to replace him as the representative from Columbus on the Family Service
Association of America, which was not an entirely Jewish organization. It’s just
an Association of Catholic, the children and family bureau here, it all the
family, it’s really like Jewish Family Service. It has Catholic services social services. We were in the same. There were about 40 people on the National Board.
Interviewer: Approximately, can you estimate about what year you were
involved with that organization?
Glassman: I don’t know…No, it’s not on, it’s on something that I have here. I don’t.
Interviewer: Marvin is now looking for his glasses to read from some of his
own notes where he has some of this information.
Glassman: Ahhhhh, Family Service Association of America was 1970-1975. It must have been about the same time in my chronological national organizations was HIAS, and then American JDC, and Council Welfare Funds.
Interviewer: Okay, are there some of your organizations you were involved in,
or some of your organizational activities that you were most proud of or that
you had the most involvement with that you’d like to talk about more
Glassman: I think it was the Federation Campaign of 1960, let me see here, I
can find, well I’ll tell you when it was. In 1960, I was Chairman of the regular
Campaign. Here in ’66 I believe. And then we had the Six Day War. And I had two campaigns in one year. And, Gordy Zacks and I ran the Emergency and Sid Blatt really
enjoyed, but I got more satisfaction out of that because of the need, Israel’s
need for the funds and the money that we raised.
Interviewer: I see. Have you been to Israel a lot?
Glassman: Been there three or…three times.
Interviewer: Were you there anywhere near that particular time?
Glassman: Yes. We were there shortly after the Six Day War. And we were there in ’67, after the war in ’67. Because we were able to see things that we didn’t see in ’66, we saw them in ’67.
Interviewer: Can you say a little bit more about what you saw, especially.
Glassman: We saw liberated land. We saw the Golan Heights, where in ’65 we
looked across buildings and there were the Arabs with their guns. And we were like 40-50 yards away from them.
Interviewer: How did that feel?
Glassman: Well, wasn’t the safest place to be. But I think my trips to Israel
during that period, probably the most memorable. I had dinner with Moishe Dayan, sat at the table with him. We were in Abba Eban’s: office. I was one in ’67, I was one of four people who was asked to speak at the President’s home.. We went there for, I was with the Young Leadership Group. I was the oldest of…
Interviewer: Of the young leaders?
Glassman: I was asked to make, say something to tell the President what had
happened. I stood up there and said, “Here I am speaking to a President of
a sovereign country.” And I was just almost overwhelmed by it. And I stood there with a
glass in my hand, you know me, it was, we had a glass of schnapps or whatever it
was, wine, I guess. And to sit there with him and tell, you know, just tell him
and then Yad Vasham was very moving because the same group of leaders
went down representing one of the, one of the camps and, it was a very moving,
two very moving trips. We met with people that you don’t normally get to meet.
In our first trip, we met Peres. That’s when people didn’t know who he was. But
Millard Cummins had met him on a previous trip. And he invited him to speak to us. And then he became the Prime Minister.
Interviewer: So these trips that you’re talking about were probably
Glassman: Yeah, they were Council of Jewish Federation’s Young Leadership.
UJA Young Leadership.
Interviewer: There’s something I’d like your impression on. I’ve picked up
things, I’ve read, things, I’ve heard that the Columbus Jewish community is
particularly well thought of in Federation circles around the country.
Glassman: That we are, yes.
Interviewer: Is there anything you can add to that?
Glassman: Well I think one of the things that put us in that light was my
mentor, Ben Mandelkorn. Ben was probably one of the finest community leaders, and I’ve met a lot of them in my trips to New York and in the meetings. But Ben was a driver. He wanted what was best for this community. And I know he stepped on a lot of toes, but we got the job done. We became a model Jewish community in the United States.
Interviewer: And is there anything specifically about that model that you can
Glassman: Our giving. Our giving is head and shoulders above anybody else.
Interviewer: And that’s what I’ve heard. Why do you think that is?
Glassman: I think because I remember I was already in leadership, and they
had the Young Maccabees: Gordon Zacks, Les Wexner, Tommy Lurie. And these are the people today that have continued their giving. They broke the barrier for young adult giving.
Glassman: I mean, they, they were. Gordon is probably one of the best off-the-cuff speakers in the United States on Jewish problems. There were times when we would have somebody running for Congress and I would. 1 would know ~ Gordy wouldn’t maybe know him. We’d go to my office and Gordon would sit there and we’d have lunch in my office and Gordon, for an hour, would tell him the whole world situation, hour and a half, without the
first note. I mean that, we’re very lucky we have those kind of men. And then
after that, came other newcomers to Columbus…who became leaders.
Interviewer: I think it’s very interesting that this medium-sized city in the
Midwest has made that kind of a mark.
Glassman: Well I think that’s why you see so many of our people on National
boards. Meyer Mellman has, I don’t know whether he’s resigned yet but he
has a big job with the Joint Distribution Committee. And there are people that many years ago, we didn’t think of as leaders but they became, and I say most of it was because Ben Mandelkorn brought the best out in all these people.
Interviewer: That’s a real testimonial to Ben.
Glassman: Because, see, I was involved before he came here and we used to
have an office down on State Street. And remember when he came in, you know he
was brash, he was driving and a lot of people didn’t like him. But he turned the
community around. I mean Jewish education. I mean Florence Melton, Sam Melton were
the financial leaders. But Ben I think was the driver.
Interviewer: That’s really something – really something.
Glassman: Yeah, I remember having meetings with, the first time we allocated
$5,000 to Jewish education, there were people in the room that threw up their
hands, “How can you do that.”
Interviewer: It’s too much, they thought?
Interviewer: Where did they think it should have gone instead? To refugees or something?
Glassman: Who knows? Who knows? But it was, I sat next to Florence Melton and
she said, turned to me when we passed that motion on the budget, and she said:
“This is the beginning of something we need very badly. ” And today
she’s a leader in Jewish education.
Interviewer: Absolutely. A couple of questions…first of all, did you think you worked as hard in your philanthropic activities then you did in your business?
Glassman: Yeah. See I had meetings with Ben Mendelkorn at 7 o’clock in the morning. And I’d meet with him at 7 o’clock, at 6:30 at night. I’d go home, have dinner, take a 15-minute nap, and go back to a meeting. That’s the way Sidney Blatt and Norm Meizlish, I mean we all did that because we were really Ben’s first group of leaders. See, Ben developed and Herb Schiff was the Chairman of the Young Leadership Study Group. And who was there? Everybody that later became President and a leader. Oh we had three or four drop-outs that really weren’t involved. But that’s…
Interviewer: And it sounds like on one hand, I mean, you worked 7 days a week
and you worked just as hard with your philanthropies as you did in your business
but at least got you out of your business some.
Glassman: Yes, yeah. Well, you know, we had luncheon meetings. And you know, oh fund-raising time, that was, well I know when I was active in United Way, I was budget chairman one year for United Way. I’d be gone days at a time during the end of the campaign. And the same thing with Federation.
Interviewer: And how did the business manage without you?
Glassman: There were other people there. My father was there. My uncle was
Interviewer: So your timing was that when you felt comfortable doing that.
Glassman: Yeah, my father and my uncle and my partner, they had no qualms
about it. You know, I had meetings…I’d go to the meetings. But they knew I’d
be there Saturday and Sunday at 7 o’clock. And I’d, I never shirked my, my job. I think my children suffered more than my business because. ..it’s an easy thing to say but due to my community activities and my business, I have never been to a Bexley parade. Fourth of July parade.
Interviewer: Wow that really is incredible. So you may be missed a lot of
things your kids were involved in.
Glassman: Right. Yeah, I mean it’s, but that’s the nature of the beast, I
guess you would say that our business at that time, was really, we did, it was a
different era. Where you expect your help to work five days and off one. And that means that you were there Saturdays and Sundays. You’d get one Saturday off out of seven and one Sunday off and there’s no…they did it.
Interviewer: This is shifting gears a little bit. At, would you, could you
talk about changes in the taxi industry as over the time you’ve been involved in
Glassman: Oh sure.
Interviewer: I think it might be interesting for people to hear.
Glassman: Well, for many years they were employees and due to the increased
cost of health insurance and then Workman’s Compensation and other taxes, they
became independent contractors and they leased their cabs. Prior to that, we’d say everybody wears a white shirt, white shirt and tie. And if they didn’t have it they either couldn’t work or we even bought shirts and sold it to them at our cost. Well now, they’re not employees. You can’t direct them. If we have an order and they say, “I don’t want to go after that, it’s a bad neighborhood.” They don’t have to go.
Interviewer: Is there a lot of that?
Glassman: We have somebody who takes care of the calls but it might be the
second or the third driver. But you know, the drivers, you can’t tell them. In those days, they
couldn’t wear a beard. They could have a moustache but they couldn’t have a
Interviewer: How long has that been? When did they start changing to when
they became independent contractors, lessees?
Glassman: 1972, ’73.
Interviewer: like 25 years.
Interviewer: Twenty, more than that.
Interviewer: I’m trying to think what to ask about that. Did the relationship
between the contractors and the cab company…?
Glassman: They were no longer employees.
Interviewer: They leased the vehicles and do they have any, what are their
responsibilities as lessees? Anything other than just…
Glassman: Pay the rent.
Interviewer: Just to pay for the vehicle?
Glassman: Yeah, we give them insurance and we, they have to buy their
gasoline. And they just have to drive the cab and show up for work, which is
a problem. Interviewer: So, you, since they’re not employees, you can’t check
references or do a criminal background. Well, the city does that for us.
Interviewer: Oh, okay. Is that a requirement, of being…
Glassman: Yeah, they have to be fingerprinted.
Interviewer: And who, what is the source of that requirement?
Glassman: It’s a city ordinance.
Interviewer: City ordinance. Okay. How did you feel about your business, same
or different, when that kind of change started to become the way you did
Glassman: We didn’t want to do it. But it was a case of survival.
Interviewer: Couldn’t afford the health insurance.
Glassman: We couldn’t afford all the benefits. The taxicab drivers, for some
reason, have the second-highest Workman’s Compensation rate and then Social
Security kept creeping up and health insurance kept going up and pension funds
kept going up and it was, uh, a matter of. …I don’t know of one or two cab
companies in the United States that they have employees.
Interviewer: So, do you think there’s enough cabs on the road in Columbus?
Glassman: Well, there’s too many.
Interviewer: Too many?
Glassman: Now. Through political action, the protection that we had through
the many years with the city opened up and gave anybody a license, and we paid
many thousands of dollars for each license. …was required. …companies.
Interviewer: You mean when you were the employer?
Glassman: No. This was at a certain point, the city, the State of Ohio had
anti-trust against the three-cab family and three cab companies.
Interviewer: In Columbus?
Glassman: In Columbus. And then City Attorney said we have to open them up and City
Council agreed and anybody who wanted a license could get one. So we paid five
to ten thousand dollars a company per license. And they went down to nothing. And we had to downsize.
Interviewer: So is there a lot of people who leave because they find out
there’s too much…compensation. Or…
Glassman: No. I mean the cab business is good. It’s getting the help to
operate the cabs.
Interviewer: Okay. But you said there’s too many cabs on the road.
Glassman: Well, because all of these others. See there used to be 350 cabs and now there’s about 500.
Interviewer: How many too many you think that is?
Glassman: I couldn’t I mean, it would be self- what word am I looking for? I know, no there’s enough so that I could still have 270 cabs, which I don’t have any more.
Interviewer: How many do you have? Glassman: 160. I see.
Glassman: I said “downsizing” because all, a lot of our drivers
went and applied for those other licenses.
Interviewer: It was a very interesting explanation of the cab industry in
Columbus and I would imagine it’s a lot like that everywhere.
Glassman: Yes, yes. Well they didn’t have the anti-trust case in Cleveland.
Interviewer: Right. They only have two cab companies there. And Dayton. But they just picked on Columbus for political reasons.
Interviewer: I see. Well, you’re still in the business though, or the
family’s still in business.
Glassman: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: Very interesting. How old was, how long has your father been
Glassman: My father passed away in ’71.
Interviewer: So he got to see a lot of growth in the industry, in the
Glassman: Right, oh yes, yes. He was able to see the groundbreaking for our
current building. But he got sick shortly after that.
Interviewer: What was your father’s name?
Glassman: Max Glassman.
Interviewer: That’s what I thought.
Interviewer: Now, someone in your family had that menswear?
Glassman: That was my uncle.
Interviewer: Really, Moe?
Glassman: Moe Glassman. He has. …Eleventh. …
Interviewer: On campus?
Glassman: Yes, Eleventh and High. His wife just celebrated her 95th birthday.
Interviewer: Is he still. …
Glassman: No he’s been gone about seven years I guess.
Interviewer: I see. Yeah, I remember that from my college days. The Glassman’s Men’s Wear.
Interviewer: I think I might have even gone in there.
Glassman: Yeah, well he he had a good business there.
Interviewer: I see. Any reason that he went that way instead of with the taxi
Glassman: Not. …He had no interest. I mean he was in the business before
my dad ever went in the cab business.
Glassman: He was just a real young man. I’m not sure that he was even married
when he went into the business.
Interviewer: This tape, this tape really is your legacy, I mean, your
tangible contribution, to a written history. What other kinds of things would
you like to add to this? What would you like your children, grandkids and future
generations to know about you and your life here?
Glassman: Well, I was the first person, well, one of two people that were
not, were elected as the first Theresa Kahn Young Leadership Awards.
Interviewer: Can you say what that leadership was for?
Glassman: That was for the Jewish Federation basically. But it’s expanded now
that it’s somebody active in the Jewish community.
Interviewer: Okay and it was the Theresa Stern?
Interviewer: Who was she for the people who don’t know?
Glassman: That was the wife of Bill Kahn and the mother of Sharon Kohodes.
Interviewer: Relative, distant relative of mine.
Glassman: Yeah, okay.
Interviewer: You were the first recipient of that award?
Interviewer: And where were you in your philanthropic career at that point in
your life? And when was it?
Glassman: When was it, I have a bunch of awards. …doesn’t, I don’t have it
Interviewer: Well just an estimate.
Glassman: Yeah, it had to be, you know middle 50s.
Interviewer: Middle 50s?
Glassman: Middle. …because after that I was, in ’59, I was the JCs
outstanding man of the year that, and also, the Columbus JCs and the Ohio
Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Interviewer: I’m wondering if you would be willing to make a copy of your
record of achievements to go with this file.
Glassman: Yeah, I’ll have to get it typed up. I’m, let’s see, I was, Temple
Israel Man of the Year in ’71. I was President of the International Taxicab
Association.I’d have to, I’ll look that up. And I was President of the Ohio
Taxicab Association and when I got the Omega Psi Phi, which is a black
fraternity. I was selected as their Outstanding Man of the Year.
Interviewer: Wow. And do you know the basis for that; what…like?
Glassman: Just followed along with the Ohio Chamber. And uh, I guess, uh I was the Taxicab Operator of the Year, the International Taxicab Association.Oh that Omega Psi Phi was citation for outstanding service to the
community.I guess that’s. …
Interviewer: Well it looks to me like you have at least four or five
typewritten pages of achievements there, maybe more.
Glassman: Well I did that so my son would have something to use if he ever
Interviewer: Yeah, well that’s a good thing. I suppose. …
Glassman: Because, you know, time runs, and. …
Interviewer: No, you have a very impressive record. Very.
Glassman: You know, when you do the things, you don’t look for the record,
you know. You know, Hillel said: “Where there be no man, be thou the man.” And I taught that to my children. And both of my children, my son who is at Miami of Ohio, he headed the Federation Campaign there. And my daughter went to University of Arizona and um I’m. …not in Tempe but the other one down south, what. …
Interviewer: I forget where it is.
Glassman: Yea, okay, well University of, she led. …
Interviewer: It’s not Flatgstaff, is it?
Glassman: No. Flagstaff is up north.
Interviewer: My geography isn’t that good.
Glassman: And, then she came to Toledo to go to law school and she led a
campaign there and she kept calling me, “Dad I need a speaker.” “In Arizona?” I said, “Well” she, they both had been on UJ College Missions. My daughter had joined a non-Jewish sorority. And upset everybody, and at Arizona, and she went to Israel after she was only there half a semester. And she came home and she says, “I want to get an apartment. I
want to drop out ’cause they don’t want to hear about my trip to Israel.” And so then she proceeded to run, have a campaign there and then Toledo there was another crisis that she ran a big campaign there. And she would call and say, “Who can I get to speak?” and since I knew people everyplace and, I had stumped in Arizona so I said, “Call UJA, you’re
the, you know enough people at UJA.” And both my kids have, my son was President of the Brotherhood of Temple Israel.
Interviewer: That sounds like your family has Federation in their blood.
Glassman: Well, my daughter’s been too busy raising, well, she made aliyah
for a short period of time.
Interviewer: Okay, maybe this is a good time for you to talk about what your
kids are doing. Your son’s in the business.
Glassman: My son’s in the business.
Interviewer: And say more about his life.
Glassman: Well he has two children. The youngest is 15 and very active in
athletics and my son is, they do a lot together going to the different sporting
events and the ones that he’s participating in. And, he has a daughter that’s 23 who has a child. That’s three, and he’s been active, as I said, in the Temple Brotherhood for years.
Interviewer: Now his name is Jeff Glassman. Jeff. And your daughter-in-law’s name is. …
Interviewer: Sandy. And your grandchildren?
Interviewer: Their children.
Glassman: Yes, are Matt and Erin. And Kevin is the baby.
Interviewer: I see. And Kevin’s three.
Interviewer: Okay. And your daughter, what can you say about her?
Glassman: Our daughter, she’s a corporate lawyer.
Interviewer: What’s her name?
Glassman: Jan, in Boston.
Interviewer: What’s her last name?
Glassman: Jan Glassman.
Interviewer: Okay and what’s her, is she married?
Glassman: Yes. Her husband is Joel Sowalsky. He’s also an attorney. And her
children are Adam Glassman-Sowalsky so they can tie in and Emily is the same
way. And Josh. So that when she says, “I’m Jan Glassman,” they know who
she is.But, they have a nice family. The kids are, our granddaughter is
very active in United Synagogue Youth. She’s President of her synagogue and chairman of a big, right today, they’re, she went to Camp Ramah and they have a conclave and she’s has a lot of the programming to do there. And our oldest grandson is 17. His, both of my grandsons in Boston are very fine pianists. The oldest one plays with a jazz ensemble at school. He’s a computer, like all kids that age, they’re computer whizzes. Except he’s got a job that pays him. And the youngest one just came, got home from Camp Ramah, spent the
Summer there in Boston, in the Boston area, and they are a good Jewish
family. They made aliyah when Emily was six weeks old and Adam was 2 1/2.
Glassman: And very unsuccessful. Fortunately or unfortunately. They went with the idea that they were going to stay, then rented a condominium in a high rise. My son-in-Iaw had gone to Ulpan in Boston. …And he was prepared to take the bar except their container got lost and they didn’t have any clothing or any furniture and the appliances. It got
there two months after they did and then they planned it to get there the day before.And they had two containers. They had a six-week-old and two-and-a-half and…
Interviewer: And no furniture and no clothes.
Glassman: No. The agency gave them a crib, a cot and a bed. And so, one of his relatives, my son-in-law’s relatives, gave her a chair for nursing so she could nurse and they came home on. …They went in September and came home by Passover. They were just really unhappy. They couldn’t take the bar and my daughter was a disciplinarian. …and Israeli, she felt Israeli parents were too permissive. And the Israelis did not treat the American immigrants very well. And they just, in fact, they couldn’t take the bar and they lost almost a full year. So they came home.
Interviewer: I see. Well, I can understand that it was fortunate or not fortunate, so.
Interviewer: What other kinds of things would you like to say for this
Interviewer: This is again your recording.
Glassman: I know. Well, that I’ve enjoyed my life in Columbus. Columbus has been good to our family. And I’ve tried to give back to the community the same that they’ve
given me. That just about sums up my feelings.
Interviewer: Well, that’s beautiful. It really is. After all this is the
Columbus Jewish Historical Society you’re talking to.
Interviewer: Well, is there anything other than you would like to say?
Glassman: I don’t, I don’t know, Carol. I said it all, I think.
Interviewer: Well, you’ve covered a lot of ground in a short time. I mean
you’ve covered a lot of things in that time. Well, if that’s the case, I’ll say
then that this is the end of the interview and thank you very much.
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